Umatilla School District to Put $45.2 Million Bond Measure on Ballot

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The Umatilla School District School Board will refer to voters a proposed General Obligation bond measure for the Nov. 8 ballot.

The proposed bond is for $45.2 million. If the bond is passed by voters, the district would receive a matching grant of $4 million from the Oregon School Capital Improvement Matching (OSCIM) Program, for a total of $49.2 million available for proposed bond projects.

Passing the bond would allow the district to complete several proposed bond projects including:

  • A new 4th through 6th grade school building on South Hill including a full-sized gym and playing fields with room for expansion
  • Renovations to convert McNary Heights Elementary to a K-3 building
  • A new Career Technical Education building at Umatilla High School with room for expansion
  • Renovations to the current shop space at Umatilla High School to convert it into elective and classroom spaces for Clara Brownell Middle School
  • Transition of Clara Brownell Middle School to a 7-8 grade building
  • Site projects, demolition, furnishings, equipment and bond issuance costs

The city of Umatilla estimates that 1,500 homes will be built in Umatilla over the next ten years, resulting in an estimated student increase of 500 students. According to Superintendent Heidi Sipe, Umatilla School District’s current schools lack the capacity to serve this growth without new construction. A facility review was conducted by an outside agency to assess facility needs, and a community group created a long-term facility plan for the district.

“The community group worked to develop a plan to address the current facilities and growth expectations based on city of Umatilla housing growth estimates. We hope all Umatilla voters will become informed about our proposed bond,” said Sipe.

In 2016, Umatilla School District voters passed a bond to renovate Clara Brownell Middle School and update systems, replace roofing and provide secure entry vestibules in each building. The estimated cost to voters was $3.133 per $1,000 of assessed property value. Due to the growth in the community since 2016, voters are currently paying $0.93 per $1,000 of assessed property value for school-related bonds. Community growth allowed for the reduction in costs to individual taxpayers.

This proposed bond measure will cost the property taxpayer in Umatilla School District an average of $1.19 per $1,000 of assessed value. This would change the assessed value of all district general obligation bonds to $2.12 per $1,000 of assessed value which is $1.01 per $1,000 of assessed value less than voters passed in 2016.

A median assessed home valued at $137,900 would pay an estimated increase of $164.10 a year. According to district information, if the Umatilla community continues to grow as expected, the $2.12 per $1,000 of assessed value will again reduce, as it did following the 2016 bond.

If voters do not pass the bond, the district will not receive the $4 million grant from the state, the projects will not be built and taxes for the school district will not change.

The district has scheduled Bond Question and Answer sessions for the public every Monday in October from 6 to 7 p.m. at district schools. For details and for more information about the proposed bond, visit the district website.